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Woyome demands $6bn from government

Representatives of infamous Financial Engineer Alfred Agbesi Woyome who is currently dragged before the Supreme Court to explain why he has still not paid the GHc51.2 million he illegally took from the government of Ghana have pitched camp at the precincts of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) brandishing some documents demanding that the Trust forks out a whopping $6billion representing its 24% shares in the phantom Green Township which has metamorphosed into a Special Economic Zone project (SEZ).

Among the letters tucked under their armpits is one dated 19th August 2016, where Woyome’s consultant, Albert Essamuah Associates Limited, wrote to the then Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, asking him “to issue an urgent directive from your august office, to SSNIT through its Board Chairman, to take up the 24% stake holding of the Government of Ghana in the Project SEZ on behalf of the people of Ghana.” This letter also revealed that “when the construction of the Port commences the value will escalate to over US$25 Billion.”

Although this letter was silent about the value of the alleged 24% stake that SSNIT was to be directed to acquire, what is apparent is that either SSNIT or the Government was expected by Woyome to fork out a colossal 24% of US$25B for that acquisition which comes up to a whopping $6 billion!

They are also using a 2009 letter from then Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor where a certain Framework Agreement signed between Woyome and Dzifa Attivor who was then the Transport Minister. “They come here almost every day to make enquiries but they are yet to meet the new Managing Director. They will show some one-page document and then keep the rest close to their chest”, a source hinted ABC News.

According to Minutes of the Permanent Site Advisory Committee held on March 3, 2016 at the conference room of the Lands Commission, a copy of which has been intercepted by the ABC News, a representative from the Ministry of Transport said the Ministry had “signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Anator Holdings Company Limited for the implementation of the above-mentioned project. He said the project has been approved by Government and that it includes the deep sea port”.

According to the minutes, the company required a land size of 30,000 acres and a further 956.51 acres to execute the project. “The Representative also indicated that their initial checks from the Lands Commission has revealed that the 30,000 acres at Tokpo include some already acquired lands (State Land) like Songhor Lagoon, the Military Training at Bundase site and the site for sugar factory at Asutuare among others”. The company, according to the Minutes, was in a position to pay compensation for the said lands.

Per the site map of SEZ and Anator Holding Co. Ltd Projects, also in possession of this paper, the project will have at least 25 facets including a Nuclear Power Plant covering about 50,000 acres of land. A Deep Seaport, Combined Cycle Power Production, Golf Course housing, Medical Centre, I.C.T, Heavy and Light Industrial Areas, among others, are also to be constructed should the project see the light of the day.

A letter directing SSNIT to ‘strictly’ comply and take 24% shares in the bizarre SEZ project was signed by Ambassador William Ntow Boahene, a presidential staffer, on behalf of the Chief of Staff on October 4, 2016, and had said it was being done following the Attorney General’s advice.

The AG in its advice to the government prepared and signed by Deputy AG, Dominic A. Ayine on September 30, 2016, cautioned, “The Chief of Staff can issue directives with respect to SSNIT to take up the 24% stake in the project subject to compliance with the investment guidelines established by the National Pensions Act 2008.” The AG had explained that “the issuance of governmental directives to a public body such as SSNIT does not necessarily violate the law.” The letter indicated, “Where the Board of Trustees of SSNIT agrees with the directive to take up the stake, it would be advisable to conduct legal and financial due diligence on the proponent company in order to ensure that the public interest in the investment by SSNIT is protected.”

The letter accepting the presidency’s directive to SSNIT to be part of the project was written on August 19, 2016 by Albert W.S. Essamuah, Managing Director of Albert Essamuah Associates Limited, who are the Supervising Consultants of the project; and said they were appointed by the government through the Ministry of Transport under former Minister, Dzifa Attivor and Anator Holding, proponents, to establish the Master Plan Implementation Office which comprises the legal technical and financial structure to organize, follow and monitor the realization of the preliminary and implementation phases of the SEZ project.

The Supreme Court has placed an embargo on the shares owned by Mr Woyome, in 11 companies, following his GHC51.2 million indebtedness to the state. Shares of the businessman affected include those in Anator Holding Company Limited, AAW Management Consulting Services Limited, Green Township Security Services Company Limited, Anator Construction Company Limited, Woyome Brothers International Limited and Stewise Anator Company Limited.

The rest are Stewise Shopping Company Limited, Green Townships and Industrial Parks Development Company Limited, Anator Power Company Limited, Green Townships (GH) Company Limited and Special Economic Zone International Trading Company Limited.

Published below is a press statement issued by OccupyGhana on 28th November, 2016.

28th NOVEMBER, 2016 OCCUPYGHANA® PRESS STATEMENT OCCUPYGHANA® WARNS SSNIT AGAINST FUNDING NEW WOYOME DEAL

OccupyGhana® has noted that its last Press Release on the above-matter has been met with silence from government officials, and two farcical denials of there even being an agreement: one by Woyome and another by Mr. Selby, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Transport. We have rebutted this by posting the agreement on our website.

Our further review of the documents since that Press Release reveal even more disturbing facts that Ghanaians must know about, one of which is this: The Government has issued a directive to SSNIT to use our pension funds to acquire a 24% stake in this phantom Woyome project. The documents in our possession show that sometime in 2009, in a scheme similar to the Stadium matters which led to the first scam, Woyome managed to convince government officials that he could establish what he called “Green Townships” in Ghana. This concept, at the time, was allegedly to provide solar power and 20,000 houses for some Urban Renewal Project, which was to be “replicated and adapted to agriculture, mining or manufacturing communities.”

It made fantastic and unsubstantiated claims of providing 12,000 permanent jobs and 30,000 construction jobs for two years, and would “lift over 200,000 people above the poverty line, including residents and workers on the project.” Woyome managed to get the Finance Minister at the time, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, to write a letter dated 15th December 2009 to “in principle accept participation stakeholding of 24% in the joint venture.”

That letter was however clear that the Government was going to subject the proposal to further discussion with relevant stakeholders, leading to formal negotiations towards a definitive agreement. The letter was also clear that a final position on all aspects of the project would only be arrived at after discussions with all stakeholders, subject also to Cabinet and Parliamentary approvals. It appears to us that this matter cooled off for several years while Woyome battled us in court over the GHC51.2M that was unconstitutionally and fraudulently paid to him.

By the time Woyome re-surfaced in 2014, what was a “Green Townships” project had transformed and ballooned into a huge Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project designed to do practically everything under the sun: electricity, deep sea ports, roads, railways, hospitals, factories, agriculture, mining, archaeological findings. You just name the project, and Woyome was going to do it.

On 19th August 2016, Woyome’s consultant, Albert Essamuah Associates Limited, now claiming to have been appointed as the Government’s consultants (and we are yet to see evidence of any such appointment), wrote to the Chief of Staff demanding the latter “to issue an urgent directive from your august office, to SSNIT through its Board Chairman, to take up the 24% stakeholding of the Government of Ghana in the Project SEZ on behalf of the people of Ghana.” This letter also revealed that “when the construction of the Port commences the value will escalate to over US$25 Billion.” Although this letter was disingenuously silent about the value of the alleged 24% stake that SSNIT was to be directed to acquire, what is apparent is that either SSNIT or the Government was expected by Woyome to fork out a colossal 24% of US$25B for that acquisition. That is a whopping $6 billion!

So, what Dr. Duffuor had clearly stated as an “in principle acceptance” with several approval conditions was, after the illegal Framework Agreement was signed between Woyome and Dzifa Attivor, being represented to the Chief of Staff as a firm commitment to acquire a 24% stake in the phantom project. We are satisfied to note that the Chief of Staff asked for a legal opinion from the Attorney-General, not on whether or not Ghana had committed to acquire that 24% stake (which would be false), but on whether the government could issue the directive to SSNIT as demanded by Woyome.

An opinion dated 30th September 2016 and signed by Dr. Dominic Ayine, Deputy Attorney-General stated that the Chief of Staff “can issue directives with respect to SSNIT to take up the 24% stake in the Project,” but “subject to compliance with the investment guidelines established by the National Pensions Act (2008).” We are satisfied that this opinion did not bind SSNIT to taking up the alleged 24% stake.

However, we are concerned that in one part of the opinion, it is stated that “this is a proposed stake as opposed to an actual stake,” while another part claims that “Government has accepted the proposal [to take a 24% stake in the project] per the letter from the Ministry of Finance dated December 15, 2009…” As pointed out above Dr. Duffuor’s letter of 15th December 2009 was heavily qualified, and none of the conditions contained in it had occurred. There is no obligation on Government to take that undefined 24% stake. Yet, this was now being packaged almost as a done-deal, and being foisted on SSNIT.

This is how Woyome works. That is how he ended up claiming and collecting GHC51.2M from Ghana for no work done. The 19th August 2016 letter from his consultant betrays this, and we are horrified that our government and its officials are tolerating this obvious scam for even a day. We must also point out that the Framework Agreement entered into between the Government and Woyome’s Anator Holding Company Limited, is silent on this alleged 24% stake in a joint venture.

The question to be asked is why the Framework Agreement fails to mention such a critical material particular? These are the matters that have led us to conclude that the Framework Agreement is illegal and a nullity, at the very least, on the ground of material non-disclosure. We call on the government to declare publicly that it is not bound by this illegal Framework Agreement.

We call on the government to publicly renounce and repudiate that document, as well as all other steps that have been taken on the back of it. We call on SSNIT not to consider, even for a moment, to use the pension funds of Ghanaians to fund this latest phantom Woyome project. In the coming days, we will show to Ghanaians even more shocking aspects of this matter. If Ghanaians do not arise to occupy their democratic space, public officials, either through negligence or complicity, will engage in shady and dodgy deals that would cost the nation money that we do not have and should not be spending. Yours, for God and Country, OccupyGhana®

 

 

Source: ABC News

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